I love April, as it’s National Poetry Month, so I get to wear my “poet hat” a lot, and, because it’s National Poetry Month, it’s the biggest traffic time at my blog GottaBook and I get to study stats with geeky abandon. Among many other things I look at, I like to see what brings traffic to my blog.
Studying traffic sources has helped me fine tune what I do over the years. For example, I get a lot of traffic from search engines, with folks trying to find poems (for school, for fun, for work, for who knows what). The takeaway for me is that making my poems more searchable based on what people are looking for – for example, a soccer poem not a poem named Goal – means I get more visitors. In other words – keywords matter.
Another major source of consistent traffic is from links to my blog from other blogs and websites. Many of these links date back to 2006, by the way, yet they still send traffic to me. Others are more recent: links to poems and posts right up to this week. The takeaways: create content folks want to share AND remember to link to others since it clearly makes a difference.
A lot of traffic comes from what I’d call “one time” events. For example, the Choice Literacy newsletter linked to my announcement post for 30 Poets/30 Days, and School Library Journal linked to my blog, too. These send a wave of traffic my way, and that wave has ripple effects: many of the folks are bloggers, active Tweeters, or connected Facebook users, and they re-share the content. The takeaway: don’t only focus on blogs and social media.
Over the years, my number of subscribers – both to my blog and to my poetry email list – has gone up. The daily traffic has, too… until the last two years. Then it’s flattened or even shrunk in some month over month comparisons, though not as quickly as my subscription base has grown. It has been a few years since I saw a consistent new source of traffic However…
This year, Pinterest, like Twitter and Facebook before it, is noticeably driving traffic my way, mostly from folks excited about 30 Poets/30 Days and the individual posts within it. The takeaway here is that I have to come up with images for my posts, as you cannot “pin” something to Pinterest if there is no image to grab.
I learn a lot more by studying where visitors come from – including find folks to thank for their support – but these are some highlights. I use Site Meter and Google Analytics to see the info, though there are many options. I also look at what works for sending traffic out, what links folks click (or don’t) when they visit, which posts are most popular and so much else… but those are thoughts for another day.
If you aren’t seeing where folks are coming from, I highly recommend you take a peek. And if you are looking, I’d love to hear what else you’ve learned from watching. It’s good, geeky fun, I tell you… and, for me at least, it helps with my efficiency, my understanding of what I’m doing online, and, in the end, my stats themselves.